The new staff they have are awesome, they are friendly and helpful. It is a pretty track for families, couples, and singles. My favorite part is getting right up to the track watching the horses prance to the gates. wesome place to spend the day.
The self bet machines are out dated, many problems, If you need help with one .. after it eats your ticket or whatever plan on waiting for a race or two.. they have one tech to help you...it happened to me....,If you go to the windows make sure you count your change after you cash your ticket, you could be short a few bucks,,,it happened to me,,,,and dont plan on staying after the last without going to the clubhouse..they shut every thing down,,, and forget about the gift shop and the game room..three trips there and neither was open
Want to step back in time to experience racing as it was and still should be? Put River Downs on your "must visit" list of track tours. If you don't have a relaxing afternoon at the track, you don't love racing.
River Downs is the 14th racetrack I've visited worldwide, in journeys that have ranged from Saratoga to Happy Valley in Hong Kong with stops on the NorCal fair circuit in between.
River Downs is the second worst track I've been to, with only Pimlico, the worst hole on the planet, being worse. Actually, River shares the same electric betting machines as Pimlico, relics that date back to the Vietnam Era. On opening day, the crowd numbered less than 100, and the racing is the basement level of the thoroughbred breed.
While parking and admission are free, River offers little ambiance aside from an inexplicable Tiki bar. The toteboard in the center of the infield does little to tell you who's placed where in the running of the race, what the fractions being set are, or anything else to help you follow the action. There is no screen in the infield to watch the backstretch action on, and many of the televisions in the grandstand were either malfunctioning or just not turned on. Since there are next to no self service terminals-- a must in the modern era, you're forced to bet with a teller. The tellers are friendly there, but placing anything more than a straight Win/Place/Show bet with them is tedious, and heaven help you if you need to call out a series of Pick 4 tickets that anywhere else, you could punch out yourself on a modern machine in less than a minute.
River's in house simulcast feed is best described as amateurish, from graphics to logo to the cheesy hosts. At least tracks from major circuits are available.
All in all, it's not worth the trip to this out of the way location for sub-par throughbred racing.
This is one of the best values in the greater Cincinnati area. From the free parking and free admission to the good value at the concession stands River Downs can’t be beat. This is a very relaxed place to just watch the horses and the people; and while you are at it bet a few dollars. Whether you are betting 2 dollars of hundreds you always feel welcome at River Downs.
My in-laws are in Cincinnati or nearby and my wife and I almost always get out to River when we are visiting, often with a sizable contingent. It is nice to go somewhere like that where people are comfortable bringing their kids, and it is about as laid-back as a race track gets. Parking and admission are free, as well they should be.
To me,a race is a race is race, and if the horses at River aren't quite the high-steppers one might find at, say, Saratoga and the like, you still get your money's worth.
There are some very good vantage points from which to watch the race in the grandstand area.
The only thing I am not too crazy about is that every other race is a simulcast from one of the other Ohio tracks, but even so, the wait between live races isn't forever.
And hey, if you do well there, you can scoot on over to the Montgomery Inn for some excellent BBQ! ;-)
Exciting gaming without all the extra bull. Do you really think that you should be paying to park at a place you're going to bet the money anyway? Who doesn't love betting the ponies. See you there and bring the kids.
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